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Who let women vote?

 
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Today is the centenary of women getting the vote in UK, but not all of them; on the same day all men over twenty‑one with a few exceptions, e.g. those incarcerated, got the vote too. Strange to think we need such an anniversary; even when I was young I took it for granted that all adults vote.

Not quite a snakepit subject, and not quite an MD subject, sort of half‑and‑half.
 
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What about men? In the Netherlands, it was a slow process. Remember that in the beginning of the 19th century only few men of higher status were allowed to vote. And then the parliament did not have that much power. That changed in most European countries in 1848, the parliament become more powerful the King lost most of his power. Then the % of men that were allowed to vote was slowly increased, most significantly between 1890 and 1900. This had a lot more influence then letting women vote, since people from the same social class and background would vote the same way, being male or female.
 
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It does seem somewhat odd the the fight for rights is still occurring

In the US Declaration of Independence has these lines near the start:

1776: US Declaration of Independence wrote:We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


According to http://www.civiced.org/resources/curriculum/911-and-the-constitution/terms-to-know

If this is one of the founding principles of the United States from 1776 which stated that all "Men" are equal, then why it is two hundred years later people still have to fight for the same rights as others?
I'm not an American, I'm a Canadian, born in Canada, most likely die in Canada. Each country deals with "rights" and "privileges" as they seem fit, but that does not make it correct.

I wonder what the term "Men" means in this instance? In todays age I suspect it would be something along the lines of "all humans".
 
Jan de Boer
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Pete Letkeman wrote:I wonder what the term "Men" means in this instance?



All citizens of a country.

Pete Letkeman wrote:In todays age I suspect it would be something along the lines of "all humans".



Forget it!!
 
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I suspect that circa 1770, the term "Men" (note archaic capitalization) wasn't defined very precisely and varied depending on what you were talking about. Probably not co-incidentally, this is also about the point where science was becoming a rigourous study - before then, about the closest you'd find were Greek philosphers, Thomas, Aquinas and the like and they tended to make their definitions on what "seemed" right, or what "ought to be" right, not on an absolute external definition. Even as they quested for absolutes. There are still many people whose lives are run based on what "should" be instead of what is, but that's another story and one that applies in greater or lesser degree to all of us.

Up until about 1900, "men" were very special creatures. Thanks to high mortality rates in childbirth, it was likely that a lot of men would find a shortage of partners. This is one of the things that can lead to war - if you can't find a mate locally, go somewhere else and steal one. Or at least raise your stature. Men also defined superiority in terms of physical strength - but only up to a point. An ox was obviously not "superior" to a man, so likewise a man-like creature from a different racial, religious or cultural group.

So for political purposes, 1776 American "Men" were male, European landholders. Much of the counter-measures against the "Tyranny of the Majority" were designed to unofficially bolster that unstated assumption.

Even the 20th Century wasn't so enlightened. Irish and Italians were only grudgingly admitted to be "men", much less females. Then there were the Heathen Hindoos and Chinee. Meaning in actuality anyone from Asia, since "they're all alike anyway".

In short, if you weren't a member of the elite, there was considerable doubt that you possessed either rational intelligence or a soul, and without them, you could not and should not be entrusted with control of the State in whole or in part.

 
Campbell Ritchie
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Pete Letkeman wrote:. . . I wonder what the term "Men" means in this instance? . . .

It means that the English language hasn't got a word for men‑as‑opposed‑to‑women. Latin has. German has.
LanguageMan as opposed to womanMan as opposed to animal
Latinvirhomo
GermanMannMensch
English???man
So your suggestion that it means all people is correct. Now, the singular of people is of course, person. But that isn't helpful because person doesn't really translate to the German Mensch. And it is possible to be a person without being human.

At least, that is what it was like when I was young. Between the 1970s and 1990s however, at least in England, the word man changed its meaning totally, to mean man‑as‑opposed‑to‑woman. So the table now reads
LanguageMan as opposed to womanMan as opposed to animal
Latinvirhomo
GermanMannMensch
Englishman???
Yes, I know you can say things like, “person,” but that isn't quite accurate, or, “human,” which is an ugly term. The same applies to the personal pronoun he, which was common gender when I was at school, but is now solely masculine to most people; we often use they as a common gender pronoun nowadays.

Anyway, English grammatical rant and gross oversimplification over. Yes, voting has gradually been extended to the whole population in this country. The supremacy of Parliament was established here about 450 years ago, but only the people Tim H mentions were invited to vote. In UK, one hundred years ago all men (as opposed to women) were invited to vote, and within a few decades all women over twenty‑one. Because of the vagaries of the system for registration to vote, many people didn't vote until well after the age of twenty‑one. One hour before the epoch, that changed in UK because the voting age was changed to eighteen, and voting rights started on one's eighteenth birthday.
 
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Campbell,
What's wrong with "human" for "Man as opposed to animal". Or "male" for "Man as opposed to woman" for that matter?
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:What's wrong with "human" for "Man as opposed to animal". Or "male" for "Man as opposed to woman" for that matter?



I quite often hear our police saying "The suspect is a male..." which also avoids having to say "boy" or "man".

And our prime minister is now being mocked in the world's press for correcting a woman who used the word "mankind", saying that "peoplekind" would be better. Here's a link to what one of our newspapers had to say about that: What's behind the Justin Trudeau 'peoplekind' controversy? A National Post investigation.

 
Tim Holloway
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The police description isn't just being politically correct. Suspects are often not seen very well and apparent age doesn't correlate all that well with actual age. They don't want anyone to form a pre-conceived image that might blind them to a potential sighting.

Many languages were developed with the historical assumption that men were in charge. In Spanish or Arabic, the selection of collective pronoun gender is predicated on the makeup of the group. If even one member of the group is male, then the entire group is "male".

German is one of the languages that has gender-neutral forms, but that's no guarantee. Abstract concepts like Liberty are not neuter, they are usually female. Young children and even older girls are neuter. So it goes.

English used to have a gender-neutral form, since it comes from the same roots. The neuter version of "his" and "hers" was "hits". But that was lost long ago. Gone the way of the letter "thorn".
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Campbell,
What's wrong with "human" for "Man as opposed to animal".

it was human being when I was young. Human is the best word English has for that.

Or "male" for "Man as opposed to woman" for that matter?

Male doesn't necessarily imply human; it could mean bull as opposed to cow.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Tim Holloway wrote:. . . German . . . Young children and even older girls are neuter. . . .

The German for girl is usually Mädchen, which is the diminutive of Magd (≡maid), and all German diminutives ending -chen or -lein are neuter gender.

English used to have a gender-neutral form . . . "hits". . . . .

I never knew that. Whether that has anything to do with what always confused (and slightly annoyed me) when I was a primary school: the way people referred to a baby as “it”.

It might be a good idea to reintroduce hit and hits as gender neutral adjectives/pronouns, but I won't hold my breath. The plurals are their and theirs; in English French and German they appear not to vary with gender of the people in question.
 
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The -chen/-lein rule is basic, but languages have been known to form perverse exceptions, so it's noteworthy that in this case neither an alternative nor an exception was made.

As far as referring to infants as "it", that's a carry-over from the Germanic past, plus it avoids possible embarrassment when dealing with a stranger's child. And don't forget that dresses/gowns were standard infant wear for both genders in English and American society until relatively recently. It was considered a developmental milestone for a young male to graduate to trousers.

Modern English (guilty as charged) has been known to employ "their" as a weasel-form for referencing cases where a singled person's gender was either unknown or immaterial. However, this tactic actually goes back into historical usage as well.

I think that one of the difficulties people have with gender-neutral forms is that there are actually 2 different use cases. One is for truly genderless purposes - both concrete objects and concepts. The other is referring to an (allegedly) gendered person where the gender is present, but (should be) secondary.

Then again, we also are very sloppy about inclusive and exclusive forms of "we".
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